BASKING RIDGE – In what was a re-match of last year’s Somerset County Tournament final, Ridge repeated history once again on Monday and claimed a very tight victory.
The Ridge girls lacrosse team defeated Bridgewater-Raritan 11-10 on a late game goal by Elizabeth Behrins to improve to 7-0 on the season.
With about four minutes to go and the score tied at ten, Shea Fitzpatrick ripped a shot that deflected off Panther goalie Arielle Weisman. Behrins was there for the rebound and drilled the ball into the back of the net.
“Shea took the shot and I was right there for the quick stick to put it it,” Behrins said. “We like to say we like to keep the game interesting, but we knew we were the better team and we knew we should have won.”
Behrins scored two additional goal and added three assists. Mackenzie Bori and Annie Pearson each scored three goals for the Red Devils.
Ally Mastroianni led the Panthers with four goals while Mackenzie Knouse added three of her own.
The Red Devils defeated the Panthers three times last season, including the Somerset County Tournament final. A win would have kept the Panthers’ undefeated streak alive, and would have been an opportunity for revenge.
“The girls wanted to come back and get a win against Ridge,” Bridgewater-Raritan coach Alyssa Dragon Frazier said. “They left everything out on the field, I kept telling the girls this is a beatable team, and [the loss] wasn’t because Ridge is the better team, they just beat us today.”
Ridge started both halves very strongly, but the Panthers rallied in both halves and kept the game close.
Ridge took a 5-4 lead into halftime and then held a 10-8 lead in the second half until Mackenzie Knouse scored two straight goals to tie the game.
“I felt like we played a little flat today but if we can play flat and get the victory, we’ll take it,” Ridge coach Barbara Erickson said. “We have a lot of senior leadership and they don’t get as frazzled when they get in a tough situation.”
After the Panther rally and the goal by Behrins, the Red Devil defense clamped down and the offense was able to run out the clock. Goalie Jamie DeWitt anchored the defense with ten saves and stayed composed under immense pressure from the Panther offense.
“Jamie is such a leader on the field, she’s aggressive, assertive and I love her for that,” Erickson said. “She almost becomes an eighth defender. She’s not afraid to leave the key and get an interception.”
Remaining undefeated is obviously a high point, but Erickson is more concerned with how her team plays on a game-to-game basis and how that bodes for later in the season.
“Who doesn’t want to be undefeated, but we look at every game to see if we’re growing as a team,” Erickson said. “We want to improve as a team and when it comes to tournament time, those tiny things will win you big games.”
Staff writer Daniel LoGiudice: (908) 418-1539; firstname.lastname@example.org